“Do you realize what I have done for you?”John 13:8
Holy Week is finally here, but does it feel like Holy Week to you? It’s hard to even remember that it’s Holy Week without deciding which Mass you’ll go to, but you and your family can still celebrate Holy Week and prepare for Easter Sunday in the comfort of your own home. I thought of a few ways to spend Holy Week at home, and I wanted to share them with you!
1 Display palm branches around your house
I was scrolling on Twitter a few days ago and I saw a few pictures of beautiful palm branch arrangements hanging on front doors. This is a great way to show your neighbors that you’re celebrate Palm Sunday and Holy Week. You could also place some palm arrangements around your home. If you don’t have palm branches, that’s not a problem. John’s Gospel is the only one that specifies the use of palm branches, so you could use any greenery or branches to welcome Christ into your home!
2 Watch the Mass
Find a video or a live stream of Holy Thursday Mass or Good Friday service and watch it with your family. Find little ways to participate more fully in the Mass like dressing up, lighting candles, sitting, standing, and kneeling at the right times, saying the responses, and praying the spiritual communion prayer.
3 Wash each other’s feet
Bring this Holy Thursday Mass tradition into your home this Holy Week. After washing his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper, Jesus says, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (John 13:14-15). Washing each other’s feet helps us not only to serve each other, but also to become more like Christ. Jesus spent his last evening serving his friends. Likewise, our hearts should be service-oriented, and washing feet is a good way to practice this.
4 Venerate a crucifix
If we can’t do this at a Good Friday Service, you can adapt it to take place in your home. Take a crucifix that’s hanging in your home and kiss Jesus’ feet. This tradition has taken place in the church for centuries as a sign of adoring Christ crucified.
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5 Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet or the Rosary
These powerful and beautiful prayers are a great way to meditate on the Passion and draw nearer to Christ. The Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Rosary are even more powerful when said in a group, which is yet another reason to pray them as a family!
6 Pray Lectio Divina with an account of the Passion
Immerse yourself in the Gospel readings about the Passion by praying Lectio Divina with them. If you want to read the whole account of the Passion, take turns reading it or read it in sections. Pause for a few minutes to let the Lord speak to you in the silence. Share which lines stood out to you and what the Lord is telling you.
7 Pray the Stations of the Cross as a family
The Stations of the Cross helps you to meditate on Christ’s Passion. There are several great videos to follow along with on YouTube, or you can search for a PDF or printable online. Your family could pick a leader or take turns leading each station, and you can stand and kneel as you would if you were praying Stations in church.
8 Watch the Passion of the Christ
Many Christian families gather to watch The Passion during Holy Week. Because it’s so graphic, parts of it can be hard to watch, but it’s worth it because you understand what Jesus went through so much more. I love how authentic everything about the movie is. I learned so much the first time I watched it, and I love to re-watch it and meditate on the Passion.
Lately, I’ve been catching myself thinking of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Particularly, the verse “Do you realize what I have done for you?” comes to mind, which is why I quoted it at the beginning of this blog post. I think this time of quarantine and social distancing is a gift from Jesus. He’s giving us an opportunity to work on our relationship with him. With the Coronavirus Pandemic, he’s helping us to distance ourselves from our distractions and daily routine so that we can give him our undivided attention. He’s allowing us to rebuild the domestic church. Let’s gather our loved ones this Holy Week to draw near to the Lord. Let’s lose ourselves in remembering his Passion and recall that by his cross, he set us free. This pandemic is definitely a cross that we have to bear, but the Lord is here in it and he’s using it to bring us back to him.
Which of these Holy Week things will you try with your family? Let me know in the comments below!
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